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While it may seem perverse to cite this a reason for their place in rock history, the fact is that the best artists often leave before they overstay their welcome, while fans still want more.
As it is, The Yardbirds are an inextricable part of the story of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, three British guitarists unique in their generation.
For many observers, The Yardbirds were midwives at the birth of popular garage rock and hard rock, while progressive rock and acid rock all owe their existence to the Yardbirds. They pioneered the absolute dominance of the guitar in all its raw possibilities and experimentation, like feedback, distortion and fuzztone.
People often say a movement is ‘ahead of its time’, but The Yardbirds were that time. Their impact still echoes through guitar styles. The legend lives on both because of their three megastar guitarists and because of all their other contributions to rock history.